Dolphin and Other Marine Life Abandoned in Japanese Aquarium That Closed Down Months Ago

International media outlets have been reporting the shocking case of a dolphin, dozens of penguins and other wildlife that have been abandoned in a derelict Japanese aquarium that closed down months ago.

The operator of the Inubosaki Marine Park Aquarium in Choshi, a city in Japan’s Chiba Prefecture, closed down in January 2018, citing a steady decline in visitors following the strong earthquake and nuclear crisis of 2011. However, the marine life that used to entertain guests – including a bottlenose dolphin and dozens of humboldt penguins – has been locked inside the abandoned facility ever since and are living in improper conditions. Although someone has reportedly been feeding them regularly, animal activists claim that Honey the dolphin is showing signs of stress due to loneliness and suffered serious sunburns this summer, while the penguins are living in crumbling pens, among debris. Park representatives could not be contacted about the situation and local authorities claim that their hands are tied.

Photo: PEACE

Photos and videos taken by activists from a group called Put An End to Animal Cruelty and Exploitation (PEACE) show honey floating all alone in a small pool inside the abandoned water park, and dust-covered penguins perched on a crumbling structure. Hundreds of fish and reptiles are reportedly also locked inside the Inubosaki Marine Park Aquarium, and no one knows if or when they will be transferred to a facility where they can be properly taken care of.

“I did not expect that the animals would be abandoned. However, even in February, people were able to see there were still animals in the park. So I started researching and found out that the negotiations to transfer them had not progressed,” Sachiko Azuma, an activist with PEACE, told CNN.

Photo: PEACE

Sachiko Azuma have been investigating and reporting on this shocking case since March, but despite their efforts, little progress has been made to help the animals. On its website, PEACE has been urging concerned citizens to send postcards to Choshi City office calling for action, and people responded by sending thousands of postcards and emails, but local authorities have yet to act. They claim hat the aquarium is privately-owned and that it is the owners’ responsibility to deal with the situation.

CNN, Reuters and other international media outlets have reached out to the parent company of Inubosaki Marine Park Aquarium, but so far have received no answer. A Choshi city official said that they also have been unable to contact aquarium representatives. So for now, the fate of Honey and the other animals abandoned inside this closed marine park remains uncertain.


“The aquarium is an agency dealing with animals so it’s their responsibility to explain what they are going to do with Honey and the other animals,” Sachiko Azuma said. “I get feelings of danger and doubt from the fact that they are so silent about this. As a group that handles animals, they have a responsibility to explain what they intend to do with Honey and the other animals.”

This shocking story was reported by western media in August, but despite several campaigns and petitions asking for the release of Honey and the other animals at the Inubosaki Marine Park Aquarium, nothing appears to have changed. The owners of the abandoned marine park remain absent, and until they approve a transfer, authorities insist that there is nothing they can do.